Surprised by Icicles

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 2 Comments

Are those the magic fairy wands glistening on the trees or only winter icicles that I see? (Anonymous)

I took a break from trying to flesh out a new story idea yesterday and went walking. Walking is a good time for thinking. You see everything around you, but you don’t have to really think about how you’re moving your feet or which direction to go. Out here on the farm, I just walk. Yesterday I walked over to the cliff area. I didn’t really plan on that destination when I started out, but when I got near, I decided I was too close not to go take a look at the cliff and see how things are going there. 

I was surprised by the icicles. It has been cold, but no snow. But we have had a lot of rain this year and so the underground pools are full. That lets the moisture continually seep out between the limestone layers of the cliff rocks. Each drip freezes and makes an icicle that continues to grow longer with each new drip until there are rows of icicles ready to sparkle in the sun.

In the photo at the top of the post, I’m trying to capture the bits of ice from the water that dripped out on the tree branches. Instead of magic fairy wands, the formations looked like graceful ice birds. The picture doesn’t really let you see that as well as I could standing under them and looking toward the sky. But with a tad more imagination you might see them. Trust me, they looked like ice birds floating in the air above my head.

And then a few bushes on the ground along the path down beside the cliff were coated with ice drippings too to make strange figures that looked as if they might turn into some sort of creature come the spring thaw. 

Ice can be an interesting part of winter, to say the least. When it falls out of the sky and brings down power lines and trees, it is definitely not something we want. But even then it can have an astounding beauty. More ways that ice can capture the beauty of nature is when it freezes over a pond or puddle or drips down to create hundreds of icicles along the cliff ledges, or patterns on the ice on a creek. So many ways to see the beauty of the ice. But there’s danger too. I came back up that path very carefully!

Do you like icicles? You might think it would be good if we could save them for the summer. The folks on our farm back a hundred years ago did exactly that by going to the river and cutting out blocks of ice when the river froze over. Then they layered that ice with straw in specially dug deep ice houses in the ground. Come summer, they could go get a block of ice to use to freeze ice cream or keep their food cold. Now we just open up the refrigerator. 

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. (Hal  Borland)

My Shaker book, The Gifted, is on e-book sale this week for $1.99. It’s not icicle time in the book, but summer. (I do have an ice cream making scene.) The story is set in 1849 and contrasts the simple lifestyle of my Shaker village of Harmony Hill with the extravagant social scene at the spa hotels where the wealthy went to “take the waters.” My character, Jessamine, is a true innocent after being with the Shakers since she was nine, but she does have an insatiable curiosity about the “world” outside the Shaker village. In the opening scene she is leading a fellow Shaker sister on a wild goose chase through the woods in the hopes of getting near enough to the White Oaks Springs Hotel to see a parasol. She’s enchanted by the very sound of the word and has a great desire to actually see one. That’s Jessamine. A fun character to live with through a story. You can check it out at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Always remember to double check the price before you download since sales can end quickly and without notice. 

Thanks for reading.

Click to tweet: Tweet: A little ice can be nice. Nature’s art.

Comments 2

  1. Robbye

    I love an ice storm. There's something hauntingly beautiful about barren trees glistening with ice.
    I don't care for the dangerous aspect of ice storms though, so I guess I'll forgo on wishing to see the beauty!
    Thanks for posting the pictures. I especially liked the tree and bush ones. Glad you didn't venture too far and were safe.
    God's Blessings!

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      That's the thing, Robbye. It is beautiful — and dangerous at the same time. Yet, once we have that ice storm, which we sometimes do whether we wish for it or not, it's good to see the beauty. Then we start wishing the electricity would be back on. LOL

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